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Homeless family lives in an office

~ By Leong Sze Hian ~

Amy (not her real name) came to our free financial counselling session with her 39 year old brother David (not his real name), David's wife and their one year old son. Despite numerous appeals to HDB they are still homeless.

From homeless shelter to homeless

David's family of three have been homeless for about a month. They were evicted from a homeless shelter as they had been staying there for more than a year, at a rental of about $100 a month. They have been on the waiting list for a HDB rental flat for about one and a half years.

Financial assistance

In addition to the homeless shelter assistance , they also received $80 in supermarket vouchers every month for six months, and $30 in vouchers for the following three months. David works as a driver-cum-deliveryman on the permanent night shift from 11 p.m. to 11 a.m., six to seven days a week, with a gross monthly pay now of about $1,500.

 Living in an office

His wife and one year old son sleeps in his employer's office, from around 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. everyday, with the permission of his employer. They accompany him on his delivery work from around 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. everyday,  as the office premises is not available when work starts to pick up at the office from around 6 a.m.

Resting in public places

They spend their time from around 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. wandering around to pass the time everyday. For David to get some rest, any public place, like void decks, would have to do. What struck me the hardest during the session with Amy and David's family, was when David's wife asked “For how long more do we have to live like this?"